America Rules!

We're number 1, baby! The next runners up have a measly 46 million guns in civilian hands versus our 275 million! Per capita, it's 90/100 to 61/100. They ain't catching up!

On a more substantive note, the statistics make me laugh. They have to be undercounting the number of guns by a significant amount. I say this because of how they gathered the numbers:

government data, surveys and media reports

I have guns that predate GCA'68 and were transferred to me privately, which means that minimal, if any, records point to their existence. I won't answer a survey on how many guns I own correctly. So they think they know? Please.

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The Failure of Libertarian Politics

Every so often a simple phrase encapsulates an issue so neatly that no more needs to be said. One of my personal favorites is the reason the war on drugs will always be a failure. Jim Henley has neatly knocked one out of the park about why libertarians, in general, fail at politics:

there are slightly more versions of libertarianism than there are libertarians

There you have it. Forging a practical political movement out of that mess is at least an order of magnitude more difficult than herding cats.

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National Airborne Day

That’s today, for you clueless legs. Blackfive is all over this one, so I don’t really have to add anything.




I’ve been humming this damn song all day and randomly going “Heliuuum” in response to questions, thus continuing my life-long habit of making the people around me think I’m nuts.

If you are unfamiliar with the Weebl oeuvre, I can also highly recommend Badger. I’m still, several years after first seeing it, highly amused by Badger. I may chump off and buy a Badger ringtone someday.



More Dick!

Continuing on along the dick theme we seem to have established by accident today, I'd like to take a moment to point out an anniversary. On this day in 1974, Richard Nixon resigned from office. I have no great love for Nixon or his legacy, so I'll hoist another drink in celebration.

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Donkey Cock Clothing

My most entertaining daily news source, Fark, pointed me at this article today. Before I discuss the actual article, I’ll digress a moment. I have high standards for the word “bizarre”. I don’t want something to be just a little bit odd when you use the word. I want something so strange I can’t quite get my head wrapped around it. This definitely qualifies:

When the news conference was over, a reporter shot out one more question: Why does he own a vest made of the skins of donkey penises?

Wait a minute. Some guy who was a serious contender for the mayor Tijuana governor of Baja California has vest made out of donkey cocks? WTF? Seriously. What. The. Fuck. His answer as to why:

Hank was happy to respond: "I don't know if you've ever stopped to think about what is the softest part of an animal's skin," he said, before stepping away through the crowd of chuckling journalists.

Well, no, I hadn’t ever stopped to think about it. This still doesn’t change the fact you’re walking around wearing a vest made of donkey foreskins. By the way, did you come to your conclusion about which part of the donkey was softest by first-hand experience? Or did you generalize this conclusion from, I dunno, horse labia or something? How do you even conceive of having a vest made from equine penis?

I have to think this a custom item. Can you imagine being some Mexican leatherworker and rich old race track owner walks in asking for a vest made of donkey dongs? That’s a “leave my shop” moment if ever there was one. Of course, maybe I’m not shopping at the right boutique. What a line of merchandise that store must carry.

“Oh, yes, sir. The donkey penis skin vests are right next to the cow udder jackets.”

Of course, maybe he just wants to prove he’s a bigger prick than donkeys have.

“I’m such a prick it takes 28 donkey dicks to make me a vest!”

I’ve got the slogan for my new clothing line. Donkey Cock Clothes: It takes a big prick to wear Donkey Cock.

Yes, I’ve spent way too much time thinking about the issue this morning. I’m still baffled as to why one wants such an item, no matter how soft it might be. I now return to the regularly scheduled ranting.

Update: Wrong office. Oops.

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Bridges, Politics, and Death

I’ve been thinking about the bridge collapse in Minneapolis. All of the easy and obvious points have, by this time been mentioned. We’ll gloss over the concept that road building is not a federal responsibility. We’ll skip the corporate welfare isn’t a responsibility of any level of government argument.

We will, however, discuss the fact that your elected officials are culpable in the deaths caused by infrastructure failures. The long and detailed version is here. The short version relies on a couple of key concepts. Let’s assume there is a fixed transportation budget for any given gummint sub-entity. So in order to pander and build shiny new projects, the money has to come from somewhere. So, do we fix the roads we’ve already got or build, I dunno, a light rail system that carries next to no people over a limited geographical area? Drive around Houston and the answer should be obvious. The answer is obvious everywhere else. New! Shiny! Pander! Vote Grab! In the meantime, the roads we all drive on go to crap until something disastrous happens. Yay politics! Poor political decisions lead directly to deaths. For some reason, this is one of the few things I can reliable count on in life.

Anyhow, when the elected officials claim there wasn’t any money for maintenance, you know they’re lying. They just felt other things were a higher priority. Hold ‘em accountable. Unelect all the bastards.



Perceived Organizational Stupidity

I have not been paying much attention to the story, big elsewhere in the blogosphere, of Scott Thomas Beauchamp. For the uninitiated, young Private Beauchamp wrote some stories for The New Republic which painted US troops in an extremely unflattering light and accused his fellow troopers of criminal acts. Young PVT Beauchamp has apparently recanted his story in a sworn statement to the US Army. TNR has been bit again by a fabulist. After Stephen Glass, one might have thought they had learned something. One would have been wrong.

Anyhow, yet another dirtbag has brought down by his propensity to run his mouth when he should have kept quiet. I can safely assert that PVT Beauchamp is a dirtbag because anybody who has the amount of time in service he has and is still an E-Deuce is by definition a fuckup of some variety.

However, young PVT Beauchamp has, in my opinion, made the classic mistake half-bright young soldiers make when dealing with the Army. The Army, as an organization, does a variety of things which strike the observer as stupid. Sometimes the Army is capable of appallingly stupid acts. This is true for all large bureaucracies, I imagine. The half-bright young soldier then makes the unfortunate generalization that the Army, as an organization, is stupid. The minute he starts thinking he’s brighter than the Army, he’s headed for the fall.

What these guys forget is the Army has been around for 232 years and has a phenomenal institutional memory. No matter how smart some young troopie thinks he is, the Army has seen someone just as smart before. There are well-developed processes in place to deal with the budding young (self-identified) genius. The combined wisdom of the Army, as embodied in the officer and NCO corps and on paper, is collectively enough to crush some private’s dumb ass when push comes to shove. PVT Beauchamp is about to find out just how hard the smackdown can be.

In essence, we’re back to dealing with people who, in the absence of any evidence to support the idea, think they’re smarter than everybody else. The half-bright ones try to game the system and get caught because they saw the failings of the system but didn’t see the strengths. The real bright ones admit the possibility of error and that someone may be smarter or in possession of more knowledge. More importantly, the bright ones don’t get caught by doing things so colossally dumb.

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A Bit Late

The Economist had a story on how they’re finally getting around to charging some of the people in the Khmer Rouge for crimes against humanity. The Cambodian Tribunal is charging Kang Kek Ieu for what he did while running Tuol Sleng. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the excesses of the Khmer Rouge, some background on Tuol Sleng can be found here. The history of Tuol Sleng is the real face of government brutality. 30,000 people went through the doors of S-21. 7 are known to have survived. I guess the Cambodians feel it’s worth it after 30 years to hang some old men.

I don’t dispute the perpetrators deserve justice. I just wonder why it took so long. Hell, Pol Pot managed to die of old age first. The wheels of justice turn exceedingly slow, I s'pose.



Sir Elton Gets Bitchy

J forwarded me a lovely news item about Elton John flapping his gums and making an ass out of himself. The most hilarious part of the whole thing is where he makes the incredible assertion

In the early Seventies there were at least ten albums released every week that were fantastic. Now you’re lucky to find ten albums a year of that quality. And there are more albums released each week now than there were then.

Okay, so by his math in any given year in the early 70s, 520 albums were released "that were fantastic". I call bullshit. Even assuming only 3 years, say '71-'73, had that kind of output that's still 1560 albums. I believe it's vaguely possibly 1560 albums released in that entire decade might hold up as being quality works, but I wouldn't bet much on it. 520 in any given year? I'll take that bet, Sir Elton. Because of this awful internet, I can go back and look and see what kind of dreck was popular in the early 70s. Fantastic? Homo, please.

I’ll give you the shorter version of his thinking: You kids today with your internet and crappy music and funny clothes! Get off my lawn and turn that crap down and shut off that internet!

He's bitter because his latest albums aren't selling because they're not any good. The obvious solution would be to make better albums. However, that’s hard and may, unfortunately for him, be beyond his current capabilities. So instead he’ll slam everybody who is selling records as being talentless, and blame the record buying public and the intarwebs. That’s the spirit, Elton! Do not go gentle into that good night! Stay cantankerous and bitchy so people will remember you as a bitter old queen! Helluva way to burn up some of the goodwill people have for you based on the work you did when you were good.

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